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Board & Train

A recipe for success!

Families can learn all the tools and tricks they need to continue their dog’s progress and have maximum success at home. We can help troubleshoot any home management issues and build on established obedience cues.

In addition, Board and Train programs include a 6-week group obedience class for the family to attend and a private lesson on graduation day! All of this together is an awesome recipe for a dog to become a well-mannered family member for years to come!

Board and Train

At Canine Academy in Berwick, Maine, we have a unique board and train program. We use 100% force-free programming, our team of dog trainers, and our day school facility to provide adequate training and exercise for the duration. The first two weeks are the most intensive part of the programming. Saturdays and Sundays are built for rest, with a private 20-minute training session each day. If you prefer, you’re free to bring your puppy home on weekends. We prefer for training that the first 2 weekends at our facility are consecutive.

If you would like, we can schedule transportation through our sister company, Kara’s Pet Care LLC. We also provide complimentary taxi cab services for pre-scheduled vaccination appointments at your vet throughout the duration of the program.

We provide standard dog food. If you’d like us to purchase a particular brand, please let us know in advance or provide food in a sealed container.


Basic Skills Covered:

  1. Leash Skills (Heel)
  2. Head Halter Acclimation (Puppy Appropriate)
  3. Recall (On trails)
  4. Basic (Sit, Down, Stay, Wait)
  5. Proper socialization
  6. Crate Training
  7. Acclimation to grooming, handling, and bathing

We will add additional skills as we find necessary for your dog’s success

your Dog is Safe with Us!

We’re a certified force and fear-free trainer with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.

You’ll have access to live WIFI cameras in the day school facility Monday to Friday 7am-5pm, as well as updated report cards daily sent straight to your email.

Feel free to call and schedule a time to come visit your pup at the Academy! And you can always view our group class schedule through the Gingr app!

We’ll call you on the next business day (Monday-Friday, 7 am-5 pm) to schedule time for a drop-off and intake interview.

Please download and read the Terms and Conditions first, To purchase the program, please submit payment here


2 Weeks


(To be paid)

Value: Over $4,200

4 Weeks


(To be paid)

Value: Over $8,000

6 Weeks


(To be paid)

Value: Over $11,800


  • Boarding at the Canine Academy in Berwick, Maine – (Value: $75 / Day)
  • Day school each day (Monday-Friday) – (Value: $75 / Day)
  • Two 30-minute leash training sessions per day (Monday-Friday) – (Value: $100/session)
  • 6-week group obedience class for the family – (Value: $250)
  • Transfer training session where you’ll learn to work with your dog after the board & train program is finished – (Value: $150)
  • We can schedule a “ride home” on the weekend through our sister company, Kara’s Pet Care LLC. We provide taxi cab services to veterinary appointments free of charge for veterinary appointments throughout the duration of the program for pre-scheduled vaccinations also. (Value: $12/ride)
  • We provide standard dog food. If you’d like us to purchase a particular brand, please let us know in advance or provide food in a sealed container. (Varies)
  • Access to the Facebook group “Canine Academy LLC – Community” where we post pictures & videos of training sessions and day school. (Priceless)
  • 24/7 Video access to our facility (training room, pool yard, and play yards) so that you can see how your pup is doing (Priceless)
Positive Reinforcement Training!

Positive reinforcement is a term used in behavioral science that means you add something (+) that reinforces or increases the likelihood that a behavior will be repeated. These rewards can be anything that the dog enjoys, such as dog food, treats, balls, tug toys, chase games, praise, or pets and scratches behind the ears.

The possible rewards in a dog’s life are endless. Anything that the dog finds enjoyable or that they want access to can be turned into a reward.

When we first begin training a new behavior, treats or food rewards are typically used. Food rewards are called primary reinforcers. You don’t have to teach a dog to need to eat. That need is inherent in all animals. Using bite-sized pieces of food allows us to get many repetitions in and helps to gain mastery quickly.

Clicker Training

Clicker Training is used to mark correct behaviors. It gives us faster results as it helps us to communicate so clearly with our learners, and also helps to mark the precise moment that a dog performs the task we are training. When the dog hears the click, she knows that whatever she was doing at that moment is what we are looking for and the click is always followed by a treat.

There is a form of obtaining behavior called capturing. The clicker “captures” the moment the behavior happens without any intermediate steps or luring the dog into position. For example, we may promote calm behaviors by “capturing” (ie mark and treat) for calm behaviors during the day. There are two other forms of obtaining behavior- shaping and luring.


Shaping is a method of teaching the dog to perform a particular task as we shape it in small steps or “approximations.” We set up each step with different criteria for what earns a click. It is important to have clearly defined criteria for each step so that the trainer knows what behavior to click for.

As for the rewards earned by dogs during the training, the best reward is a jackpot reward. A jackpot is a reward of 3-4 treats in a row to help the dog understand that they have hit the big time and done the exact behavior we wanted them to perform. Sometimes we will also jackpot when the dog makes a particularly good choice in the face of extreme distraction.


The last form of obtaining behavior is by luring. Luring is simply using a treat or toy to manipulate the dog into position by having the dog follow their nose. Many people use lures to get their dog to lay down. We usually like to try using one of the other methods before luring because the dog is focused on themselves and their body instead of the treat in front of their nose. Occasionally, fading out the lure is difficult. This is why many owners have dogs that only lay down when a hand points at the ground in front of their nose.

In Learning Theory, there are four quadrants. Positive reinforcement is one of those quadrants and one the trainers at Canine Academy LLC strive to use exclusively. Positive reinforcement training builds relationships and trust between dogs and people. Sometimes use of the other quadrants, particularly positive punishment, leads to a breakdown of trust and can result in an unhappy dog and owner.

What is positive punishment? Positive punishment is the addition (+) of something unpleasant to the dog that punishes or decreases the likelihood of a behavior to happen. i.e leash correction.

Negative Reinforcement

The other two quadrants are negative reinforcement and negative punishment.

Negative reinforcement is the removal (-) of something unpleasant in order to increase the likelihood of a behavior happening. Wags and Wiggles trainers do not employ the use of negative reinforcement because it would require us to either apply something unpleasant to the dog or place them in a situation they do not like. Neither of these situations is conducive to building strong, trust-filled relationships.

We do, however, utilize negative punishment. Negative punishment is the removal (-) of something enjoyable to decrease the likelihood of a behavior happening.

Negative Punishment

While the terminology sounds harsh, this is a very simple and kind form of changing behavior. One example is a time-out. Each of our Board and Train dogs spends time in our daycare playgroups if their behavior is appropriate for the group.

This behavior is common in many dogs. Protecting things they find important is called resource guarding.

Counter Conditioning

One other aspect of many Board and Train students’ training programs involves some form of acclimating to what could be an unpleasant experience. This counterconditioning and desensitization most often manifests in clipping toenails. Very few dogs come to us feeling happy or comfortable with having their nails clipped. Sometimes even touching their feet at all is an issue

Counter Conditioning is the process by which a trainer helps the dog to create a new emotional response to what used to be a fearful trigger.


Desensitization is the process of exposing the dog to the fearful trigger at a distance that does not create the fearful response. By keeping the dog under threshold (the dog’s tolerance level where they maintain a calm and relaxed emotional state), we can slowly increase the amount of the trigger presented, or bring the trigger closer to the dog.

These two techniques are used in conjunction to help dogs feel more comfortable about anything in their lives that they find scary, but are necessary for their health, or unavoidable in day-to-day life. Phoebe did not leave her Board and Train stay feeling happy about toenail trims, but she did accomplish the ability to relax in her trainer’s lap while her paws were handled.

Premack Principle

Many dog owners ask us at the end of their dog’s Board and Train stay if they will have to carry around a clicker and treats for the rest of their dog’s life. And the answer is no! We use these tools to create new behaviors. Once the behaviors are established, the click can be replaced by a verbal marker like the word “Yes!” and then followed with a non-food reward. Rewards can be anything from a game of tug to the chance to go say hi to a friendly neighbor.

One technique that we employ to help our dogs learn to respond to cues in the face of distractions or other challenges is called the “Premack Principle.” This fancy phrase is another way of saying that you must eat your vegetables before you may have dessert – Grandma’s Law!

Leave it means: turn your head away from that object and give me eye contact. Performing a “leave it” in the face of a bush full of appealing smells is a tough task for any dog. If the dog turned her head away and gave her trainer eye contact, it was marked with a “Yes!” and “Ok, go sniff!” That is Premack in a nutshell.

Behavior Chains

Another technique toward decreasing our reliance on clickers and treats is to begin to ask our dogs for chains of behavior. Running an agility course is an example of a dog performing a behavior chain. Each behavior (obstacle) performed correctly triggers the next cue to be given. The second cue becomes the reward for the previous behavior.

Behavior chains can also work against us as dog owners. It is a common problem in the case of dogs that jump up on people. We accidentally train the dog a chain of behaviors: dog jumps up, we say “off,” dog gets their paws on the floor, we say “sit,” dog sits, and we reward with attention and praise.

What many people do not realize is that this sequence is not just rewarding the sit, but the entire chain of behavior starting with the initial jump. The dog is then learning to get attention and praise, he can jump on people to trigger the chain of events leading to his pets and praise. And this is where the last piece of the training plan puzzle fits in: management


Effective management is critical in training any dog. We must prevent problem behaviors from occurring in the first place. Otherwise, we run the risk of creating unwanted behavior chains or allowing the dog to self-reinforced and solidify those behaviors themselves.

Using a tie-down to prevent a dog from jumping up stops the chain before it can even begin. We use crates for unsupervised dogs to prevent inappropriate chewing or house soiling. Long lines are a form of management to prevent a dog from running away when training long distances.

Puppies love trash cans! They find good stuff in those trash cans!  We must use management by either putting the trash can behind a closed door or perhaps using a baby gate to block off access to the room where the trash is located.